terça-feira, 15 de maio de 2012

Shanghai Girls - Lisa See

Shanghai Girls.jpgShanghai book is a story of life how it truly is: with hardships and difficulties, with joys and laughter. It shows the reality of how life can creep up on us and from one day to the other change our world upside down. It shows how not all our dreams, ideas and goals are accomplished or fulfilled the way we planned and programed them to be but that we are still capable of going ahead and finding new dreams, goals and longings. Most of all it showed one of the hardest facets of love: loyalty. And together with loyalty comes her twin sister: sacrifice. Because there is no way to be loyal without sacrificing. The sacrifice that Pearl makes in taking her sister’s daughter as her own to save her sister from having to face unbearable shame; the sacrifice Pearl’s husband does in taking his own life to be able to keep his whole family safe and stable with what they fought so hard to conquer. In reading this book it once again dawned on me how true love is possible of going through any depths, heights and beyond and above all reason. And the truest love that there exists in this whole world is the love between a family: mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, grandfather, grandmother, daughter and son. Because it is for our family that we are willing to sacrifice it all in trade of seeing them well and happy even if this comes at a very large personal cost. The main reason this book spoke so much to me was because of its real life context and the honest way it portrayed life and living.  

Shanghai Girls

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Shanghai Girls  
Author(s)Lisa See
CountryUnited States
PublisherRandom House, Inc.
Publication date2009
Followed byDreams of Joy
Shanghai Girls is a novel by Lisa See. In an important sense, it returns to the beginning of her major writing career. After publishing three murder mysteries largely set in China (Flower NetThe Interior, and Dragon Bones) and then following them up with two in-depth studies of the struggles of Chinese women in the 19th and 17th centuries respectively (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love), See now returns to many of the themes she emphasized in her first major work, On Gold Mountain. The 1937-57 time frame of the novel matches Parts IV and V of the memoir. The museum exhibit that See developed based on On Gold Mountain also provides relevant context for the new novel.[1]
The novel received an Honorable Mention from the Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature. The sequel, Dreams of Joy, was released May 31, 2011.[2]
Shanghai Girls is divided into three parts: Fate, Fortune, and Destiny. It centers on the complex relationship between two sisters, Pearl and May, as they go through great pain and suffering in leaving war-torn Shanghai and try to adjust to the difficult roles of wives in arranged marriages and of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. Here See treats Chinese immigration from a personal view through Pearl's narration. In On Gold Mountain she objectively placed 100 years of her Chinese family history in the context of the daunting challenges Chinese immigrants faced in coming to American in search of Gold Mountain. America's mistreatment of Chinese immigrants is stressed in both memoir and novel.
The sisters' story is interrelated with critical historical events, famous people, and important places—the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of Shanghai, internment at Angel IslandLos Angeles ChinatownHollywoodWorld War II, the Chinese Exclusion ActMcCarthyism, etc. Historically significant people appearing in the novel include Madame Chiang Kai-shek, actress Anna May Wong, film personality Tom Gubbins, and Christine Sterling, the "Mother of Olvera Street."[3]
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan explores the complex relationship between two intimate friends. In Shanghai Girls See treats the loving yet conflicted relationship between two best friends who also happen to be sisters,[4] especially in the context of their relationship to Pearl's daughter Joy. In speaking of Shanghai Girls, See has commented: "Your sister is the one person who should stick by you and love you no matter what, but she’s also the one person who knows exactly where to drive the knife to hurt you the most."[5] That being said, in Shanghai Girls it is the love of Pearl and May for each other that survives.


  • Pearl Chin
The protagonist in the story. Her Zodiac sign is the Dragon. The elder of two sisters, she always thought that she was less loved by their parents. She is in love with Z.G. Li, a painter/photographer who takes pictures of and paints Pearl and May. She later marries Sam Louie to help pay off her father's debt to the Louies. She and Sam raise Joy as their own daughter. Later on she becomes pregnant with Sam's baby. She carries the baby to term, but the child is a stillborn boy.
  • May Chin
Younger sister of Pearl. Her Zodiac sign is the Sheep. Flirtatious and haughty, she is jealous of her sister who went to college and who she thought was favored by their parents. She has a secret romantic relationship with Z.G. Li. Later it is discovered that she became pregnant by him, resulting in a daughter, Joy. May gives Joy to Pearl to raise as her own daughter because on the night of her wedding to Vern, Sam's brother, she could not bring herself to sleep with him. Father Louie (Vern and Sam's father) suspects she may be pregnant by someone else, so both she and Pearl pretend that Pearl was the one pregnant all along.

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